2017-02-10 / News

Joins Wightman on Cloverland Crew

Burnis Begins Work as Lineman on Mackinac Island


Stephen Burnis Stephen Burnis Cloverland Electric Cooperative lineman Stephen Burnis began work on Mackinac Island in December, joining Dan Wightman as one of two linemen assigned to work on the Island. Prior to Mr. Burnis’ arrival, Cloverland sent over staff from its St. Ignace office regularly to assist Mr. Wightman.

Mr. Burnis is a native of Manistique and was hired by Cloverland in September. He has almost seven years of prior lineman experience, and prior to that trained in 2009 at Georgia’s Southeast Lineman Training Center. He worked with a contractor and later spent three years with an electric co-op in Wisconsin before moving to Mackinac Island.

Cloverland keeps a truck and many supplies on Mackinac Island for fixing electrical issues when they arise. The staff from Cloverland’s St. Ignace division office provides additional support for Mr. Burnis and Mr. Wightman. If something comes up requiring major equipment that isn’t on the Island, it can usually be brought over quickly from the mainland.

Cloverland Communications Manager Todd Chapman said Cloverland always strives to post two linemen on Mackinac Island for both safety and community support purposes. The company is dedicated to continuing this practice into the future, he said Wednesday, February 8. The nature of working with electrical power means that having two people working on a job instead of one is a safety measure. A second lineman also makes it easier to cover days off for vacations, sick time, and training-related absences. Additional workers from St. Ignace can be brought over whenever a job demands it.

Mr. Chapman noted many Mackinac Island residents prefer having two linemen posted on the Island because they believe it leads to quicker response times when problems arise, often remembering a long blackout in 2000 after a marina cable failure. That event is unlikely to recur, he said, as Cloverland installed a backup cable in case the primary ever had another problem.

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